Falsetto/ Dudes Who Did One Thing and Now Do Something Else

There are a number of slightly embarrassing trends in my music consumption. For now, I’m just going to admit to an obsession with falsetto that compels me to listen to things that I normally wouldn’t. Moving right along…

The Prize Fighter Inferno:

The album, My Brother’s Blood Machine, is about half cheesy dance-able  indietronica and half depressing acoustic lullabies. (I’m filing this under “morose shit”.) The sound is definitely experimental, progressive, and strongly features Claudio Sanchez’s impossibly high voice. On the dancey side, there’s “the Margetville Dance” and “78”, both of which sound like the b-sides of a mistakenly unpopular 80’s exercise VHS. On the soft elegy side, there’s “The Flight of Moses Early and Sir Arthur McCloud” and “Easter”, which are surprisingly great (for me) to ease out of bed to . Also, the lyrics have some sort of Elliott Smith-level-of-depressing conceptual back story to them, if you’re in to that. Not bad for the creeptastic lead singer of Coheed and Cambria.

My Brother’s Blood Machine

Luke Pickett:

I started listening to Her Words Kill because someone told me that the singer had an “angelic voice”. In retrospect, there’s not a whole lot that’s impressive about the  proto-post-hardcore singer/screamer outfit, save Luke Pickett, the angelic singer. Luckily, Her Words Kill had the excellent foresight to disband and Luke Pickett became an acoustic solo act. The first track I listened to was “And Asleep I Am Your Everything” and the man’s voice is truly angelic… and by angelic, I mean beautifully androgynous (… and really everything the man does seems to be vaguely *politically* queer). In the middle of the chorus, Luke makes his uncommonly alto voice jump yet another octave at the end of phrases for a really nice effect. One of my personal favorites is “Blood Money”.  I mean, when does anyone ever talk about male-victim domestic violence, much less write a song about it?  The video for the song could easily be a slick promo for a domestic violence NGO (Peep it here.)  More than the falsetto, Luke Pickett does a great job of creating believable male sentimentality. Since he mostly wrote songs about failed relationships, I’m glad he figured that one out. Good examples of this: “Cruel Love”, “Make Me Beautiful”, and “Dream Love Cure”, despite the drum machines. What’s tricky about listening to Luke Pickett is that some of his solo stuff seems to have actually been released under Her Words Kill. Also, he’s slated to release a new album this year, but he’s being billed as r&b, covering up his tattoos, pre-releasing awful pop tracks, and wearing tweed. I’m just going to preemptively say that I’m not excited.

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GotyeI’ve been sleeping on my love of Gotye (pronounced go-tee-ay like the French surname Gauthier) for a while, because I wasn’t completely sure what to say. Essentially, he’s an indie Australian producer who makes “electronic” albums that have no coherent theme. He’s a minor deal in  Australia and not really talked anywhere else. I’ve had his second and most popular album, Like Drawing Blood, for some time and it’s my favorite of the three he’s put out so far. His tracks range from somber and morose “Heart’s A Mess” and “Night Drive” to dancy “Thanks for Your Time” to retro “Coming Back” and “Learnalilgivinanlovin” to experimental “Distinctive Sound”.  Gotye’s first LP, Boardface is not as great as Like Drawing Blood, but contains one of my favorite of his songs “Out Here in the Cold”. His latest, Mixed Blood, is a remix album of some select tracks on Like Drawing Blood. I don’t generally like remixes, so needless to say I didn’t enjoy Mixed Blood at all, but it’s easily someone else’s steez.

Boardface– pass: highqualitymp3.com

Like Drawing Blood

Mixed Blood

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Neo-Soul Unload part 1

Neo-soul is a huge segment of the new things I listen to, so I’ve been meaning to do a neo-soul spot for a while, but…varying amounts of sloth keep me from accomplishing most things in life. But now, in no particular order:

Kevin Michael

KevinMichael_IMAGE1He has a badass afro, a beautiful voice, and seems to do cross-legged wall sits for fun. Judging by his promo photos, the accomplishments of his labelmates (Missy Elliott, Diddy, Paul Wall, etc.) and the guest appearances on his self-titled debut album (Wycelf Jean, Lupe Fiasco, and Q-Tip) , Kevin Michael was probably  groomed to be a mainstream big deal.  For whatever reason, he fell short of Billboard success. All this to say, sometimes his lyric writing is softcore and stereotypical in spots, like many or most big deal R&B singers, but his voice and music production are always impeccable. His slower tracks are my favorites : “Love Letter” and “Liquid Lava Love”. Others to note: “Vicki Secrets”, “Ain’t Got You”, “Stone Cold Killa”, “Too Blessed feat. Q-Tip, and the acoustic versions of “We All Want the Same Thing” and “It Don’t Make Any Difference to Me”. He’s slated to drop another full album this year. We’ll see how that goes.

Kevin Michael

Leela James

Leela JamesLeela James is fly. She doesn’t waste time singing stand-by-my-man love songs. Instead, she writes a lot of angry ex-lover songs, one of which has a backbeat composed mostly of shattering glass.  But I don’t just admire Leela James for her anger. For one, her cover of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” makes you wonder why Gwen Stefani was ever made a “lead” singer, in my humble opinion. Secondly, her lyrics always manage to hit hard… even when she’s singing a song about her love of soul food.  She and her backup singers also do a shit-ton of solid old school harmonizing… she even released a whole album of old school R&B covers to announce her commitment to bucking contemporary factory produced R&B (I haven’t heard many of the tracks though). I like all of her A Change is Gonna Come album, but if you need inspiration, try “Music”, “Rain”, and “Didn’t I” (the one with the glass).

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Fever Ray


One half of The Knife does a solo project. I thought The Knife was ok, but Fever Ray is minus all the sugary synthpop. There is only Karin, her insanity, heavy ambient bass, and the finest prose in all of human history:

i’m very good with plants
when my friends are away
they let me keep the soil moist
on the seventh day i rest
for a minute or two
then back on my feet and call for you

Also consider:
accompany me
by the kitchen sink
we talk about love
we talk about dishwater tablets
and we dream about heaven

One YouTube comment describes it as “morose shit”. I like morose shit…

Fever Ray
Also peep the videos for:
When I Grow Up
If I Had a Heart

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Musiq (Soulchild)


I’ve been listening to a shit ton of music that I’ll post about as I spottily remember it. But first, I want to prattle on about how amazing I think Musiq Soulchild is:

I recently decided to download the man’s entire studio discography. Roughly 80 tracks and not a one of them is bad, granted all of them aren’t spectacular. True, Musiq Soulchild has a great voice and works with decent producers, but that’s just not the point for me. Typically I’m afraid of downloading the discographies of male neo-soul artists because after a handful of songs I get upset about intraracial portrayals of gender in the black community… then I have to turn it off and take a black solidarity, stress-induced nap. Maybe I should lighten up, but I rather just hype Musiq for his positive, not-completely-fucked up accounts of women and storylines that don’t feature black men as violent, misogynist sexual predators.

Though I like all of his stuff, I recommend starting with at the beginning, if you want to try it out:

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Awesome Animal Ambulance


Hi everyone,

Its been a little while since the last post. Sorry.  I’m just not a good blogger.

Anyways, here is one of my favorite (and probably one of the cutest) records of all time. Awesome Animal Ambulance combines drum machine loops, synths, girl/boy vocals and winds them up into a rare musical gem:  a compact, simple, caring, and earnest record that unabashedly revels in its own quirky yet compelling sincerity.   This is a bright record that will have even the snarkiest listener headbobbing and smirking.

Buy it here at Aurora 7 Records

And also check out Suzy Coady’s website.  She did the artwork.

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When someone hands me an album describing it as “raprockelectronica” I usually go in expecting a mixture of The Faint, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, and (yes) Limp Bizkit around 1999. But after listening to the most recent album, Want from the band, group, duo 3OH!3 (pronounced “three oh three”) I’m pretty (pleasantly) surprised by Sean Foreman and Nathanial Motte’s genre dissolving style..

Take track 2, “Punk B*tch”. It morphs from a pretty heavy rap beat to an electronic dance beat all the while maintaining the same feel through the whole song. Tracks “Holler Till You Pass Out” and “Chokechain” are hilariously pompous rap/electro mixes.  However, the song “Still Around” is a decidedly slow mix between emo and R&B…which is which is a unique (and addicting) combo. “Don’t Trust Me” is just a straight dance track(complete with handclaps!) but somehow still works with the rest of the album.

Admittedly, some of the lyrics aren’t that deep (ex. I just want you to know that we datin’ mad models and poppin’ mad bottles tonight….) but it’s still one ridiculously interesting piece of work. They have just enough talent and take themselves just seriously enough to make it work.

Holla Back.

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